Toward the end of last month the media was ablaze with a story about how a person in the stands at a volleyball game between Duke and Brigham Young University shouted a racial slur at a Duke player. The alleged shouted slur of course was passed along breathlessly by non-skeptical media outlets including “Good Morning America,” MSNBC, USA Today, and CNN. Campus police investigated and it soon became clear that the alleged incident never happened.
Today BYU announced the results of the university’s full investigation, and came to the same conclusion:
A statement from BYU Athletics regarding the investigation of the Aug. 26 volleyball match, examining our fan behavior and response.https://t.co/Vj3HlW6xzV
— BYU Cougars (@BYUCougars) September 9, 2022
Wow, big update on the BYU thing: “From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”https://t.co/ILz7mMKu6r
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) September 9, 2022
Will the media who immediately reported the claim be equally as fast to get out the news that the original story was totally made-up? Don’t hold your breath.
— Spencer Kelly (@spencerk7atty) September 9, 2022
We’ll just go ahead and assume that’s the redundant question of the day.
Who could possibly predicted that a thing that has turned out to be a hoax on dozens of prior occasions turned out, once again, to be a hoax? https://t.co/KRn7isMSTn
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) September 9, 2022
No matter how many times these types of stories end up being untrue the media’s zeal to run with the claims immediately as fact never dissipates.
The only bigotry here was against Mormons.
— max (@MaxNordau) September 9, 2022
From BYU’s statement:
From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event. As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation.
As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as having uttered racial slurs during the match. We have not found any evidence that that individual engaged in such an activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to that fan for any hardship the ban has caused.
Our fight is against racism, not against any individual or any institution. Each person impacted has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor, and we encourage others to show similar civility and respect. We remain committed to rooting out racism wherever it is found. We hope we can all join together in that important fight.
How about starting to hold accountable the people who report false claims in the first place?
Regarding the BYU incident, there’s no getting around the fact that huge swaths of the media have completely abandoned all reasonable standards.
And these news orgs are going to eagerly keep smearing people until they’re aggressively made to pay for it.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) September 9, 2022
The next time there’s an allegation the media will be all over it yet again. And then they wonder why their credibility is in the toilet.